Dr. Clarke Leads $780,000 NASA Project
HHP faculty Dr. Mark Clarke is the principal investigator on a three-year, $780,000 NASA funded study that will examine how well sweat patches, the size of adhesive strips, can detect levels of chemicals that may indicate bone loss.
Dr. Mark Clarke
The University of Houston issued a press release announcing the study, below is a excerpt from the release
“Current assessments involve blood tests, urine analysis or bone density scans, all of which are time-consuming, inconvenient to the working astronauts or, in the case of bone density scans, require large equipment that’s not practical on a space station,” said Mark Clarke, associate professor and principal investigator. “These patches are small, non-intrusive, and placed on the skin to collect a sweat sample. The sample is then analyzed for biomarkers of bone loss markers, such as calcium.”
The three-year, $780,000 study will examine three types of sweat patches, each differing in the way the sweat is collected and extracted from the devices. One device collects the sweat between the skin and a plastic layer; another is a commercially used patch that absorbs the sweat and is then reconstituted with water. The third is called a Microfabricated Sweat Patch (MSP) built using micro-chip inspired-technology. Sweat is removed from the MSP using a mini-centrifuge. The technology was developed by Clarke and Daniel Feeback, a lead scientist with NASA’s Life Science Directorate.
Dr. Clarke performs research on the effects of mechanical forces on the musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems. He also is actively involved in developing a number of technologies and approaches for real-time biomedical monitoring of these changes in astronauts and other clinically relevant populations.